AbstractsPolitical Science

The European Citizens' Initiative: Opportunity Structures for Organised Interest Groups

by Svitlana Kykot

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2016
Keywords: European Citizens Inititiative; Opportunity Structures; ECI; lobby; EU; Right2Water
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2122603
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/28070


We investigate why the European Federation of Public Service Unions ('EPSU'), an organised interest group which was not intended to make use of the European Citizens' Initiative ('the ECI'), nonetheless used it to mount a campaign to influence EU policy on water privatisation. We perceived that scholarship concerning the ECI lacked adequate examination of what opportunity structures it offers to organised interest groups. Our paper aims to fill that gap. We conduct a case study of the campaign, Right2Water, to which we apply the four approaches to opportunity structure presented by Princen and Kerremans in their article 'Opportunity structures in the EU multi-level system' (2008): political contention, exchange relations, venue shopping and political construction of scale. We examine the dynamic interaction between existing opportunity structures and opportunity structures which EPSU created through its own activities. We found that using the ECI enabled EPSU to bring to the EU agenda an issue which went against the European Commission's own political stance. The ECI acted as a springboard for EPSU to access opportunity structures within the EU institutions that it would not otherwise have enjoyed, enabling it to leverage its campaign and secure greater influence. Advisors/Committee Members: Lynggaard, Kennet (advisor).